Connecting California: Solving the Digital Divide
Why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Matters: A Breakdown and an Update
Thursday, May 19, 2022 | 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PST
Register for the event.

Recently, a historic investment was made to ensure that every American has access to reliable, high-speed internet. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which dedicates $65 billion to bridge the digital divide includes: 

  • $42.5 billion allocated for states
  • $14.2 billion to tackle affordability for qualified low income users
  • $2.75 billion to focus on digital literacy
  • $2 billion for rural broadband programs
  • $2 billion for Tribal broadband
  • $1 billion for middle-mile connections
  • $600 million for tax exempt private activity bonds.

But what does all this mean, where has some of this money already gone, and how do we ensure that equity is at the forefront of how these dollars are spent? Join us for the next installment of our series, Connecting California: Solving the Digital Divide.

Speakers include:

Executive Director, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

ADRIANNE FURNISS Executive Director, Benton Institute for Broadband & SocietyAdrianne Benton Furniss is Executive Director, Board Member, and Trustee of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, a private operating foundation based in the Chicago area. Benton believes everyone in the U.S. must have access to the infrastructure of opportunity–open, affordable, high-performance broadband—and the skills to make use of it, if we are to become a more equitable society. For 40 years, the Benton Institute has helped strengthen communities by advancing communications policy in the public interest while providing day-to-day support and resources to the community of people who care about “broadband for all.” Currently, Adrianne serves on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice(CLIC) and as Secretary and Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors for PCs for People.

Policy Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)

AMY HUFFMAN Policy Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)Amy Huffman joined the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) in 2021. She is a public servant, systems thinker, innovative policy expert and a storyteller with a passion for closing the digital divide and ensuring all Americans can thrive in the 21st century’s digital world. Amy has studied and worked in the digital inclusion field for 10 years. Prior to joining NDIA, Amy served as the State of North Carolina’s first digital inclusion and policy manager for the Broadband Infrastructure Office, a division of the Department of Information Technology. Amy’s interest in technology spans beyond broadband; for several years, she was a freelance writer and consultant, contributing to tech-focused publications where she covered North Carolina’s startup ecosystem. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

DREW GARNER State Broadband Policy Fellow, Common Sense MediaDREW GARNER
State Broadband Policy Fellow, Common Sense Media

Drew Garner is the state broadband policy fellow at Common Sense. He works to help state policymakers navigate federal funding opportunities and design programs that close the digital divide. Prior to joining Common Sense, Drew worked in the U.S. Senate, in state government, and for NBC News.


Deputy Director, NextGen Policy

Adriana Sanchez-OchoaAdriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include: immigration, women’s issues, digital inclusion and equity and environmental justice. She also serves as the NGP liaison to the ethnic, women’s, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in the California Legislature in various key positions. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Special Thanks to Our Foundation Partners

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Connecting California is brought to you by the Michelson 20MM Foundation. If you missed our Connecting California events, you can find the recordings on our #ConnectingCA YouTube playlist.

Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon and inventor Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. The Michelson 20MM Foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in leading organizations, technologies, and initiatives that seek to transform learning and improve access to educational opportunities that lead to a meaningful career. Learn more at